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California ranks high for hit-and-run and bicycle fatality rates

Recent studies rank California as having very high rates of fatal hit-and-run and bicycle accidents.

California can be a dangerous place for pedestrians and cyclists. As CBS Sacramento reports, the Golden State has the most overall hit-and-run fatalities in the country and is in the top ten when ranked on a per capita basis. Furthermore, other studies have found that California is particularly dangerous for cyclists, with the state having one of the highest rates of fatal bicycle accidents in the U.S. Many California cities also rank as among the deadliest for cyclists.

Hit-and-runs in California

In total, 337 hit-and-run deaths occurred in California in 2016, which is far more than any other state. It’s also a 60 percent increase in such fatalities since 2009. California was the only state with more than 300 hit-and-run deaths and one of only three with more than 100 such fatalities. Texas had 233 hit-and-run fatalities in 2016 and Florida had 206.

Even when ranked on a per capita basis, California’s hit-and-run fatality rate remain extremely high. The state has the seventh-highest per capita rate of fatal hit-and-run accidents. About two-thirds of those killed in hit-and-run accidents were either pedestrians or bicyclists.

Bicyclists at high risk

Given the high rate of hit-and-run accidents, it should come as little surprise that California is particularly dangerous for bicyclists. As the Wall Street Journal reports, California has the fifth-highest rate of bicyclist fatalities in the country. Between 2007 and 2016, the state had 3.1 bicyclist deaths per 100,000 people. Furthermore, when the country’s top 50 metro areas were ranked in terms of their bicyclist fatality rates, four California cities landed in the top ten. Sacramento, with a bicyclist fatality rate of 4.8 per 100,000 people, is the fifth deadliest major metro area for bicyclists in the U.S. while Riverside-San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and San Jose, rank eighth, ninth, and tenth respectively.

Across the U.S., the streets have been getting much more dangerous for bicyclists. In 2016, for example, the number of bicyclists killed reached 840, a figure not seen since 1991. It was also a 35 percent increase from the number of bicyclists killed in 2010. Drunk driving, distracted driving, and an increase in overall traffic are believed to be behind the dramatic rise in bicyclist deaths.

Personal injury law

While a motor vehicle accident is always a frightening experience, it can be especially devastating for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users. The risk of serious injury is much higher for pedestrians and bicyclists and such injuries can lead to significant financial pressure, including medical debt, time taken off work, and prescription drug costs. A personal injury attorney can help those who have been hurt in an accident pursue the compensation they may be entitled to. An attorney can provide effective representation to injured clients and help guide them through the claims process.

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